Which Stories Do You Share, Pick-Me-Ups or Bring-Me-Downs?

 In Better Life, Focusing on the positive

As I was sitting in the waiting room, I could overhear a couple of the employees talking. One was sharing how frustrated she was because a retailer had shipped her package to the wrong address, delaying the shipment. She went on about her conversation with them and how annoyed she was. They had given her the runaround and had made her sorry she had done business with them. It sounded she had told this in-depth story several times before.

Fast forward to today. We were visiting with some friends and sharing memories of past adventures. As the conversation turned to run-ins with spiders and snakes, my husband was reminded of his mouse incident. He told us how it was a chilly fall day so he was dressed in a few layers and a coat for his walk down the driveway to get the mail. Next to the mailbox, he noticed a bunch of twigs in the box for the newspaper, so he reached in and quickly pulled them out. As he started to cross the road back over to the driveway, he felt a funny stinging sensation at his neck. He wondered if it was a bee. Then he felt something moving and scratching between his shoulders.

My husband started slapping at his back as he tossed the mail in the air. He quickly stripped off his coat and then his other layers. He was jumping around making high-pitched screeches. Standing in the middle of the road, stripped to the waist in the fall chill, mail scattered all around, he noticed a small mouse run out from his discarded t-shirt.

As he recounted his experience, he laughed as he told us how the mouse must have run up the sleeve of his coat when he grabbed the pile of twigs. The rest of us were laughing as we visualized the scene.

Have you noticed how a negative story tends to remind us of our own negative stories? And when someone finishes sharing, we’re ready to jump in with our own frustrating incident? But if someone tells a funny or encouraging or good news story, what happens?

This week, see if you can steer your conversations towards Pick-Me-Up instead of Bring-Me-Down stories. Be a positive ripple!

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